Speaker Profile: Laura

Laura

Name: Laura Maxwell
Course (and Year): Psychology BSc (2nd year)
Presentation Topic: The Ukuthemba Project

Tell us a little bit more about your presentation.
The presentation outlines the project and takes the audience through the journey that the project has come on and my role within it.

Why did you choose to take part in this project / take on this role?
I decided to become part of the project as I am a rape survivor myself and wanted to be part of such an important project which would be taking real steps to end rape. I took on the role of project coordinator as I know the project really intimately and have relationships with our contacts in South Africa.

What has been the best part of your student engagement experience so far?
Going to South Africa has been the best experience of my life, let alone my student engagement experience. It was such an enlightening few weeks and an incredible country.

What would you say is the most important thing you have learned?
The most important thing I’ve learned is that projects take a lot of time and it’s really important to talk to your beneficiaries to ensure that you are not inflicting your personal view on them. It is important to challenge your assumptions as they’re not always true.

How have co-/extra-curricular opportunities enriched and broadened your degree?
The project has really allowed me to broadened my understanding of people within different context, and why they have their differing opinions. Additionally, it’s allowed me to conduct real life research which is obviously useful experience for a psychology degree.

How has getting involved in co-/extra-curricular activities at university helped you with future career goals?
I aspire to work within and eventually set up my charity or social enterprise. I now have real world experience which sets me above many other people who want to work in charities. Also, I understand the issues with finance that many charities face and have create solutions to deal with this, which is fundamental for the sustainability for NGOs.

Why is the University of Leeds such a good choice for student engagement?
There are over 250 societies at Leeds offering many different things. Within volunteering there are countless opportunities. RAG is huge at Leeds offering many different local and international projects. If someone is looking to set up their own, more sustainable project, Enactus offers many options for volunteering.

Why should every student get engaged at Leeds?
As we’re told so often, a degree isn’t enough anymore and it’s important to have experience in other areas. Also it’s really nice to do something outside of your degree just to add some variety in your life. It’s also fantastic to have an impact in the world around through different projects and experiences.

Speaker Profile: Dillon

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Name: Dillon Vyas
Course (and Year): 2nd Year Medicine
Presentation Topic: Engagement as a Medical Student

Tell us a little bit more about your presentation.
My presentation first starts with me talking about my involvement in Widening Access into Medical School (WAMS) and my role as an Ambassador for WAMS and the Leeds Medical Education Academy (LMEA) run for Widening Participation (WP) Sixthform students. Then I’ll talk about the research project I did over summer on brain tumours. I’ll finish by talking about my plan for next summer about using my passion for medical research to bring an element of medical research into the LMEA. Also I will talk about my plan to volunteer in the Kilimanjaro Community Support (KiCS) project over summer to improve the health and educate the locals.

Why did you choose to take part in this project / take on this role?
I decided to take part in WAMS because I was a WP student myself and I found attending the WAMS events really helpful in getting a place in medical school so I’d like to return that favour to the medical students of tomorrow. I decided to take part in the brain tumour research project because I’m interested in specialising in Neurosurgery one day so I wanted to gain more knowledge on brain tumours and what science already knows about brain tumours and the uncertainties.

What has been the best part of your student engagement experience so far?
I’ve really enjoyed the brain tumours research project as it gave me an opportunity to network with neurosurgeons and it allowed me to attend the Society of British Neurological Surgeons conference.

What would you say is the most important thing you have learned?
The most important thing I have learned is that research isn’t as straight forward and there’s a lot of trying and failing before you actually get somewhere. You have to spend a really long time looking at your data from different angles before you can actually see a pattern that makes your data clinically relevant and worth presenting at a conference.

How have co-/extra-curricular opportunities enriched and broadened your degree?
The research has enriched my degree because I was able to see the different equipment used for genetic testing in real life and I got first hand experience of the cytogenetics lab. Other medical students have only heard about the genetic testing equipment in lectures. As a clinician one day we will only get results from genetic labs, whereas I’ve seen all the background work that goes into it. Also volunteering at LMEA has helped me understand some of the things taught at medical school better because I’ve had to teach some of these topics to the Sixthform students that attended, for example Basic Life Support (BLS).

How has getting involved in co-/extra-curricular activities at university helped you with future career goals?
Getting involved in research has helped me with my future career goals as a neurosurgeon because the research project allowed me to network with neurosurgeons and attend and present a poster at a national neurosurgery conference. I also got my name and research project title published in the British Journal of Neurosurgery. This will help me get a better insight into neurosurgery and the experience will help me get better research projects in the future.

Why is the University of Leeds such a good choice for student engagement?
The University of Leeds is a good choice for student engagement because there are a lot of research projects you can get involved in no matter what your interests are. Also there are a range of scholarships available.

Why should every student get engaged at Leeds?
You should get engaged because you get experience in different fields and there is a huge range of opportunities available to engage in, something you won’t get once you finish university. You meet incredible people and it boosts your CV and improves your future prospects.

Speaker Profile: Jess

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Name: Jess Reid
Course (and Year): BA International Relations (Final Year)
Presentation Topic: The Welfare World of the Union

Tell us a little bit more.

Hello everyone! My name is Jess and I’m a third year International Relations student. My presentation will be on some of the welfare related work that I have been doing in the university for the past couple of years, specifically my role in Mind Matters, a society in the union that offers support to students in mental of emotional distress and raises awareness about mental health in general. This is something which is extremely important to me, as it genuinely upsets and angers me to know that so many people are being forced to suffer because of a lack of funding and a lack of awareness for mental health, something which affects all of us- and 1 in 4 of us will have a diagnosable mental health condition any given year. Our aim in Mind Matters is to let you know that you are not alone, and we provide a safe space where people can come together. Being engaged in the union is something which has been invaluable to my general university experience. Through this I have been able to meet other likeminded people, learn new skills, confronted new challenges, and have been able to throw myself into life in the union, without engaging I most certainly would not be the person that I am today. I have been forced to push myself in more ways than I ever thought I would have been when I came to Leeds as a fresher. Welfare work is not in any way related to my degree, this is perhaps what makes it so important to me. It gives me an outlook on life that I do not get from my studies, as well as enabling me to meet students from all different degree programmes with different outlooks on things. In terms of looking to the future and career goals, I believe that my experiences have armed me with some of the skills required to be able to survive in the real world away from university.

Leeds is an amazing place to get engaged, I cannot encourage others enough. There are so many opportunities to broaden your student experience, whether that’s going abroad, joining a sports team, or any of the other 300+ societies in the union. There are also countless opportunities to get involved in the city through the union. The University of Leeds is an amazing place to be, and the more engaged you are the more you will get out of it.

Speaker Profile: Ed

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Name: Edward Hardy
Course (and Year): Third Year – BA (Hons) Politics
Presentation Topic: Leeds Student Radio

Tell us a little bit more about your presentation.
My presentation would look at what I’ve done as a member of Leeds Student Radio (LSR), ranging from when I began as a panellist on the Station’s weekly flagship political show, Political Animal, to my current role as the creator, producer and host of my own current affairs programme. I would also discuss my work on one-off events, such as the Station’s General Election coverage, the interviews that I’ve conducted with individuals, ranging from Ed Miliband and William Hague to Jacob Rees-Mogg and Paddy Ashdown, and events I’ve covered, such as the BBC Question Time Leaders’ Live Special. I could also discuss the opportunities that my LSR work has enabled me to create, including internships with The Times, Sunday Times and The Independent.

Why did you choose to take part in this project / take on this role?
Two of my passions are journalism and politics and I have been very fortunate over the last two years to pursue these interests, joining Leeds Student Radio, while studying politics at university, including creating, producing and presenting my own weekly radio programme, working for some of the UK’s leading newspapers and appearing on television.

What has been the best part of your student engagement experience so far?
During my time at Leeds Student Radio, I have arranged and conducted interviews with many of the UK’s foremost politicians, including Jeremy Corbyn, Ed Miliband, William Hague and Tim Farron, as well as YouTubers and authors, including Marcus Butler, Connor Franta, Joey Graceffa and Joe Sugg. The best part of my experience so far came as I took on the role of the Station’s Political Correspondent, when I was given the opportunity to present live broadcasts throughout the night as the 2015 General Election results were being announced, as well as covering other key events.

What would you say is the most important thing you have learned?
During my time at Leeds Student Radio, I have been able to gain experience and skills within journalism, learning everything from how to produce a rundown for a broadcast, write an article, produce a programme, present a show, conduct interviews, cover events and edit both audio and visual broadcasts.

How have co-/extra-curricular opportunities enriched and broadened your degree?
Leeds Student Radio has given me the opportunity to learn new skills and gain experience within the field of journalism, allowing me to explore potential careers and realise what I want to do once I have graduated.

How has getting involved in co-/extra-curricular activities at university helped you with future career goals?
Getting involved in student radio has not only, as previously mentioned, provided me with invaluable experience, it has also opened a number of doors for me in the world of journalism, helping me to secure internships at The Times, The Sunday Times and The Independent.

Why is the University of Leeds such a good choice for student engagement?
The University of Leeds has some of the best student media in the country, including an award winning student radio station, newspaper and television station. While I have focused primarily on broadcast journalism, the close relationship that the three groups have has provided me with a wider insight into different forms of media. Furthermore, beyond student media, the University of Leeds has a fantastic network of clubs and societies which gives students the ability to participate in a number of different activities, beyond their degrees.

Why should every student get engaged at Leeds?
Students should get engaged at Leeds because, with such an expansive and diverse range of clubs and societies, there is truly something for everyone and, by joining a society, you can not only make great friends, but also find your calling, something you deeply enjoy and are passionate about.

Speaker Profile: Micaela

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Name: Micaela Maccan
Course (and Year): 3rd year Civil and Structural Engineering
Presentation Topic: Constructionarium: a “hands-on” construction experience as part of one of my third year modules, i.e. how we built a 1:20 scale Ravenspurn Oil Rig.

Tell us a little bit more about your presentation.
Level 3 civil engineering students have the amazing opportunity to choose “Constructionarium” as one of their elective modules. The module allows the students to finally put theory into practice. In fact, as part of the module we, a group of 18 students, had to build a 1:20 scale version of the Ravenspurn North oil rig. The very first part of the project involves personal research on the real project and production of a report. The second part is the fun part. We met the contractor, this year was Shepherd Construction: they provided the construction materials and all the PPE we used on site. The construction site field course took place in June 2015 at the National Construction College in Bircham Newton and the length of the experience has been of about 5 days. We have been guided by experts working for both Constructionarium, which is actually a non-profit organisation, which makes these kind of experiences possible, and Shepherd. What we basically did is building a 4.5m high replica of the real project from scratch. Going slightly more into detail: the structure included a 4m square single cell insitu reinforced concrete box-caisson, a steel scaffold superstructure and a plywood platform. Once finished, the platform has been towed out to a specified location into a 2m deep lake and sunk onto a prepared gravel foundation. Each one of us had a precise role: I was the Health and Safety Manager for the project. Despite the limited time, the project has been successfully delivered!

Why did you choose to take part in this project / take on this role?
I chose to be involved in this module because it is definitely something different from all the other “standard” modules. It has been very challenging but it made me gain great insight into what a real construction project is.

What has been the best part of your student engagement experience so far?
Definitely the connection that I have been able to create with my coursemates.

What would you say is the most important thing you have learned?
Being involved in this kind of project made me realise how important communication between all the members of the group is. It is essential to have different people playing different roles but it is even more important to get everyone to communicate with each other: that s the first main step to lead the project to success.

How have co-/extra-curricular opportunities enriched and broadened your degree?
All these different opportunities enriched my degree by making me understand what I really like doing and what I don’t, as well as showing me one of the possible realities that I am going to face as soon as I graduate. I understood that my kind of degree can be used in many different fields though and I don’t need to limit my possibilities.

How has getting involved in co-/extra-curricular activities at university helped you with future career goals?
I think that every kind of opportunity I have taken up to now have helped my career goals by giving me new skills and making me understand what I really like doing and what I don’t. Engineering is based on group work: I have gained great group working skills and communications skills thanks to the different projects assigned during my degree and the extra-curricular opportunities like last year’s Intercultural Ambassador Project, where I worked together with my group to organise an event focused on human trafficking.

Why is the University of Leeds such a good choice for student engagement?
The University of Leeds is the perfect choice for student engagement because students are surrounded by amazing lecturers and professors who are world experts in their field and who are entirely available to them. Students should recognise and acknowledge this privilege.

Why should every student get engaged at Leeds?
I think engagement is equal to gaining new skills, which are essential for your time at University and most importantly for your future career. Also, as an international student, I can assure that engaging in co and extra-curricular activities is an easy way to better integrate to a new culture and society.

Speaker Profile: Tay

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Name: Tay-Yibah Aziz
Course (and Year): Course (and Year): BSc Human Physiology (Industrial) – 4th (final) year
Presentation Topic: Presentation Topic: My Industrial Placement Year & Science Slam project

Tell us a little bit more about your presentation.
As part of my degree, I undertook a Year in Industry and worked for the University’s Educational Engagement team. In my presentation, I’ll talk about my motives for undertaking a Placement Year, what I learnt from the experience and a little bit about my science communication project I undertook – my team and I ran a ‘Science Slam’ with undergraduates from the Faculty of Biological Sciences and performing arts students from a local secondary performing arts school.

Why did you choose to take part in this project / take on this role?
A lot of students underestimate the worth a year out can do for your prospects and self-confidence – I know I did! Approaching the end of 2nd year, I knew I wasn’t ready to go straight into my final year and graduate without any experience, as I had no idea what I wanted to do afterwards! My presentation will hopefully encourage a lot of students to consider the option of taking a Year in Industry and also demonstrate to staff from different departments the value that students can bring to any team!

What has been the best part of your student engagement experience so far?
Running my project was a massive learning curve but also taught me many vital skills that I’ve already noticed have been benefitting me in my final year of study. Being given so much responsibility was scary at first, but you quickly adjust and I had an immense sense of pride when it ended successfully and everybody was smiling on stage!

What would you say is the most important thing you have learned?
How important networking is! I worked with so many different teams and people from different industries that it was vital to keep tabs on who everyone was (even if it was difficult!). Something as small as showing you remember someone when you meet them for the second time can earn you a lot of respect and those ties always connect up somehow – it’s such a small world so when you’re working in a certain industry everyone knows each other somehow. Having a varied network means you have a database of people to call on for backup, ideas, funding… the list goes on. Equally, make sure people know who you are and how you can help them – using a social networking such as LinkedIn can help you do this in a professional manner.

How have co-/extra-curricular opportunities enriched and broadened your degree?
My role as a Public Engagement Intern taught me a passion I never knew I had and gave me an interest to pursue which has obviously been massively influential on my time once returning to university. I’ve now been seeking Graduate positions in this area with companies and institutions I learnt about through the networks I made on placement. It’s also made me a much more organized and self-motivated individual, so getting up at 9am every day, getting all my work done on time and balancing this with extra-curricular responsibilities has gotten a lot easier!

How has getting involved in co-/extra-curricular activities at university helped you with future career goals?
As mentioned earlier, I now know that science communication and public engagement is the area I want to go into after graduation and having a year’s experience will definitely make me stand out from the crowd. A lot of industries look for experience of project management and understanding of policy, so writing grant applications in an industrial setting and working with the various teams in my department have developed me into a better-rounded graduate. I know that I can use the skills and experience I’ve learnt to adapt into a working environment straight away and will have to spend less time acclimatising to the atmosphere of a busy office, which is obviously very different from being a student!

Why is the University of Leeds such a good choice for student engagement?
It’s clear how much Leeds is willing to invest in its students to ensure they have the best graduate opportunities upon completion of their programmes. I received fantastic support from my Faculty in finding an Industrial Placement and the Career’s Centre were second to none in making sure my application was of a top standard. They also offered me a mock interview which was tailored for the role, and this was a fantastic opportunity to prepare for the real thing. Whilst on placement, my supervisors made sure I engaged with many different opportunities across different teams to get as much of a varied experience as possible and I know I can still fall back on the contacts I’ve made for support and things like references.

Why should every student get engaged at Leeds?
Because you’ll never know what you’re capable of if you don’t! Leeds offers so many different types and ways to engage that students are spoilt for choice and who knows – you might discover a passion like me, make great friends and gain some fantastic experience in the process. It’s also a great way to develop your CV and get involved with something that’s important to you.

Speaker Profile: Jess M.

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Name: Jessica Murray
Course (and Year): Third Year English Literature
Presentation Topic: The Gryphon student newspaper

Tell us a little bit more about your presentation.
My presentation will take you through my experience in journalism to date, especially focusing on The Gryphon student newspaper and how this has opened so many doors of opportunity for expanding my skills, building contacts, increasing my employability and ultimately helping on my way to secure my dream job.

Why did you choose to take part in this project / take on this role?
Being a reporter or editor for The Gryphon is such an amazing experience, available to everyone, but so many people are wary about getting involved. We welcome all writers, whether you’ve journalism experience or not, and I really want to pass on my own experiences to encourage others to have a go at writing.

What has been the best part of your student engagement experience so far?
I really enjoyed the training session with Ivor. When I first walked in and was asked to prepare a one minute presentation about a random photograph, I totally freaked out but through the information we learnt at the session, I was able to present with confidence, and I was really proud of what I’d achieved by the end.

What would you say is the most important thing you have learned?
How to make a presentation connect with the audience. I’ve done a few presentations before, but I always worry that I’m boring my audience or that I’m not getting through to them. The student engagement showcase has taught me how make presentations that are fun but also get their messages across effectively.

How have co-/extra-curricular opportunities enriched and broadened your degree?
I absolutely love my degree, but it does involve spending a lot of time alone in the library, reading and writing essays. Working as a writer and then editor for The Gryphon has improved my writing and editing skills (A bonus for my degree) but has also taught me how to work as part of team, to delegate roles and help others. It has taught me how to create something collectively and not just by myself, which I think is a valuable skill for life.

How has getting involved in co-/extra-curricular activities at university helped you with future career goals?
There’s a stigma around Arts degrees that they’ll get you nowhere in life, and while I think my degree gives me so much that will prepare me for my future career, it’s important to keep your career path in mind and actively prepare for it. My work at The Gryphon has helped me develop the skills needed for a career in journalism alongside my course, and has led to work experience placements at The Observer and Kerrang! Magazine, through which I made valuable connections and learnt so much that will hopefully help me to get a job when I graduate.

Why is the University of Leeds such a good choice for student engagement?
I think Leeds is a really good university for student engagement, apart from the hundreds of societies, most schools and departments provide plenty of ways for students to become more involved in university life. The Give It A Go scheme is a really good way to try things out without committing yourself to membership.

Why should every student get engaged at Leeds?
There is so much going on here at Leeds; there is such a wide variety of societies and extra-curricular activities, there really is no reason not to get involved. If you want to make your degree really count for something more than a piece of paper, then get involved in as much extra-curricular activity as you can at Leeds.

Speaker Profile: Caterina

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Name: Caterina Tavagnutti
Course (and Year): BA Criminal Justice and Criminology (Year 2)
Presentation Topic: Representing Criminal Justice students – a forensic guide

Tell us a little bit more about your presentation.
I will put aside my hate for crime tv series exclusively to offer you a presentation that will hopefully keep you on the edge of your seats and give an idea of how being a Course Representative-and being engaged at university in general- is in fact a thrilling experience. My presentation will follow the format of a crime investigation – because everyone loves CSI, right? Well, I don’t. However I will assume for five minutes the role of police officer and possibly challenge some misconceptions about Criminology in the process.

Why did you choose to take part in this project / take on this role?
I think it’s very important (especially at university, when you have plenty of time and energy) to have a proactive attitude and take each opportunity to act towards positive change. I thought being a Course Representative, a Student Ambassador and a Peer Mentor at the School of Law would have been a perfect way to reinforce communication between students and the university and help them, which I really enjoy doing. On a personal level, I decided to take over this role to force myself to face my fear of speaking in public. How very clever of me to mention this right before my presentation.

What has been the best part of your student engagement experience so far?
As a Course Rep I had the chance to get a first-hand experience of the frustration of establishing effective communication channels with students. It’s ok, most of us have neglected our student e-mail for a week at some point in time and we all have had that assignment haunting us that makes us forget about anything else. However it might as well prevent you for finding out about interesting initiatives, events, opportunities to do some work experience. I have brought up this issue during a Student-Staff Forum as a follow up of the Course Rep Conference, which made me realise how it is a problem felt across all faculties. I suggested some techniques to improve communication with students, for example by improving the role of peer mentors and making a better use of social media to advertise opportunities for students. My engagement in the school resulted in a Contribution Award that will give me the chance to shadow a prison officer at HMP Leeds.

What would you say is the most important thing you have learned?
The most important thing I have learned is how to effectively listen to people. It’s a skill which is easily taken for granted – however communication is a tricky business, and without the necessary effort it can easily go wrong. Especially when your brain speaks different languages and loves to misinterpret things! It is something that I managed to apply in my everyday life, too, and the whole experience made me more conscious about other people’s perspectives.

How have co-/extra-curricular opportunities enriched and broadened your degree?
Alongside with getting involved with students societies (PIN students and Street Dance), this opportunities definitely gave me the feeling I was spending my time at university doing something worthy. It is also a different way to experience university and learn more about how the system works. Moreover they helped me gaining soft skills that will be very applicable to a future career, which you can’t gain from writing essays alone!

How has getting involved in co-/extra-curricular activities at university helped you with future career goals?
For sure I have learned quite a bit about problem solving – which is definitely what I will be dealing with on a day-to-day basis if my dreams come true and I end up working in the criminal justice sector. However you can easily apply that to any other job. Plus it definitely helps you coming out of your shell and coping better with responsibilities, if you get used to that now the transition from education to work will appear much less scary.

Why is the University of Leeds such a good choice for student engagement?
Well, I will mention something you might have heard of before: the University of Leeds has the biggest Union in the country – just saying! It really does cater for everyone’s interests. Also, every department in the uni offers an infinite range of activities to help you make up your mind about your future. As an international and mature student I never felt there wasn’t anything for me out there or that I was not being included. Have a look around, and you will soon realise that you got 99 options, but gettin bored ain’t one.

Why should every student get engaged at Leeds?
Just do it! (to be read with Shia LaBeouf’s voice) I think it’s hard not to get engaged when there are so many opportunities all around you. Find something you really really enjoy doing, or try something you have never done before to broaden your horizons. This is the moment when you have the most chances to learn and experiment – while meeting lots of interesting people!

Discovering China

Georgiana Epure tells us how Leeds for Life helped her to explore China. 

d bund 1The Study China Programme was not a life changing experience, because I already knew what study and career path I want to follow. However, my participation in this amazing programme was more than a step further in my personal and professional development path: it represented an unchaining of energy, ambition, curiosity and desire for understanding and knowing more about this overwhelming world (which you can reach the other side of in less than 13 hours by plane), its beautiful people, mesmerizing cultural diversity and its challenges alike.

As a young Romanian, born 5 years after the overthrow of the communist regime, and an International Relations student, visiting China appealed to me both emotionally and intellectually because of my curiosity to see life under the powers of communism (and perhaps understand a little bit more about the recent history of my home country) and my interest in experiencing and understanding the culture of an emerging power in the international system.

a6 mauDuring my three-week stay in Hangzhou, I learned basic Mandarin, following an intense beginner’s level course at the Zhejiang University. However, the best part of the programme (besides weekends, which I saved for travelling) were the afternoon classes in Nation and Nationalism in China – a very interesting course taught by a Chinese professor, who did his PhD in Scotland and who was not afraid to critique the Chinese political system and to discuss ‘taboo’ topics such as the question of Tibet and the Tiananmen Square massacre. As a politics and international studies student, the time I spent in China allowed me to tick one box that I missed out on ticking in Leeds: studying  Chinese politics (which is available as a module at the university but because I chose German as a discovery module, I did not have enough credits to choose this module too).

Avid for knowledge and curious – that’s how I’d best describe myself. It is no wonder that I absolutely loved my time in China, where I could unleash my curiosity and ask people about topics that are of interest to me, such as gender issues (particularly old cultural practices such as ‘foot binding’, the one-child policy, and the current problem of migrant workers, which is related to one of the modules I have been attending last semester, Gender and Violence, as well as my role as a member of the Association of Liberty and Gender Equality).

a3 conf travellingIn addition to the 4GB of pictures I took, great friends and memories I’ve made and the new flavours I discovered trying a shameless variety of Chinese dishes, there are some other things that will stay with me forever: the transferable skills that I have developed (and I am not talking about my ability to eat with chopsticks). By far, my experience in China enhanced my sense of responsible awareness and respect for other perspectives and sensitivities, whether local, national and international, and my critical skills and ability to question received information through the course I attended on Nation and Nationalism in China, creative problem solving and working out solutions to the challenges that arise when living in a foreign country within which you cannot speak the language.

The Study China Programme runs every year. If you crave for a ‘fast forward’ learning experience about the magic of cultural diversity and about yourself, do apply. By testing, not only accepting your limits and immersing yourself in a new culture, you will find that we are all not so different, that is only a myth which applies to those who cannot see the beauty that lies within every human being and culture.

You can watch Georgian’s video of the Study China Programme here

@GeorgianaEpure, BA International Relations

Digitalising and Cataloguing the Ripon Fragments at the Special Collections

Leonardo Costantini tells us more about how he engaged with Special Collections at the Brotherton Library. 

LCostantini profileThis extracurricular project, which brings together my philological background with my skills in photography, is about the digitalisation and cataloguing of ca. 70 unedited fragments written between the 11th and the 16th century.

The project started because of a serendipitous occasion: last February I went to the Special Collection to inspect a rare copy of an early-printed book, and there I met Rhiannon Lawrence-Francis, the Special Collections Manager at University of Leeds. We discussed about our common interests in Medieval and early-printed books, and I suggested that – even with a very low budget – it would still be possible to obtain some excellent digitalisations, and to enhance the readability of very old and damaged pages by means of non-destructive techniques, such as the use of UV light. Rhiannon mentioned the wonderful collection of fragments conserved at the Special Collections, coming from the library of the Ripon Cathedral, and said that they would have constituted and an excellent testing-ground for these photographic techniques.

Things rapidly evolved and the project finally begun in May 2015: since then, I have had the fantastic and exciting opportunity of working on a weekly basis on these unedited parchments and papers written in Latin, French and Late Middle-English, and now that they have all been digitalised, I will need to accurately catalogue each image. These will be made available online on the website of the Special Collections in due course.